Music is often described as the international language, a common thread among all humanity regardless of race, nationality, or creed. An outstanding example of this bond is the International Summer Jazz Academy (ISJA) which takes place annually in Krakow, Poland. 

Last year, Saint Louis Polonia Inc. partnered with ISJA to raise funds for the expenses of the American faculty members participating in the project. We are pleased to announce our continued support for the 2022 ISJA program.


The International Summer Jazz Academy (ISJA) was founded in 1994 as a cooperative venture between Poland and American educators through the sponsorship of The Polish American and Youth Jazz Foundation. Since that time, the ISJA has provided more than 2,500 students with materials and training to explore and experience the disciplined freedom of jazz.

It is the only event of its kind in Central Europe that successfully brings American and Polish jazz artists/educators together to work with students from Poland, the United States, and several other countries. The ISJA educational program is executed through daily organized and spontaneous interaction with prominent American and Polish jazz artists.  

The ISJA provides opportunities for the students and faculty to interact with each other, giving each person the chance to learn about culture, history, environment, society and to share mutual hopes as friends for the future. 

Classes are conducted by American artists, renowned Polish musicians, the Cracow School of Jazz and Contemporary Music faculty, and other invited stars. In addition to classroom instructions, participants play together with American and Polish assistants during daily lessons and nightly jam sessions.

The daily curriculum includes theory/improvisation, composition, history, master classes, jazz singers, combos, big band, and jam sessions. At the conclusion of ISJA, the students demonstrate improvements in their skills through two public gala concerts. Each student receives an ISJA diploma and education materials from sponsors upon completion.


The ISJA takes place in Krakow, the historic cultural center of Poland.  Krakow is also the home of the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, a private institute directed by Grzegorz Motyka, a renowned guitarist, and ISJA Administrative Director. 


Among the ISJA faculty are two prominent musicians and educators with ties to the St. Louis area:  Michael Parkinson (see bio) and Willem Von Hombracht (bio). Over the last 25+ years, both Mike and Willem have participated in the ISJA as instructors and artistic directors


The real reason for the success of the ISJA is the students who work very hard and are hungry for knowledge conveyed by the expertise of the faculty from both Poland and America. Interest in jazz in Poland dates from the 1930s. However, it grew intensely during the 1950s, thanks to radio broadcasts via the Voice of America jazz programs of Willis Conover.

Jazz education is relatively new in Poland, with few schools having jazz ensembles or courses in jazz studies. Polish jazz artists are acknowledged as among the finest in Europe. The American artists bring their skills as performers and teachers with solid pedagogical abilities. 


Most of the students who attend the ISJA are high school and college students from Poland and other countries, including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland and Malta, Ukraine, and the United States.


The ISJA provides the workshop setting with materials and faculty at modest tuition. The faculty members generously offer their services for minimal financial compensation. Expenses for airline tickets, hotel rooms, meals, and so forth are not covered by the tuition. Thus, contributions from sponsors and fundraising events are needed to offset the difference.

On behalf of the ISJA, we ask for your financial support for this year’s program.

The ISJA is a proven “winner” in building friendships between Americans and Poles. Your support is a good investment for our future. Thus, we seek your assistance in identifying funding sources for the American faculty members mentioned above.


To make a donation by Paypal, please click on the button below

To make a donation by check please mail it to the address shown on our CONTACT US page


Saint Louis Polonia Inc. is the primary American partner for the ISJA.   The United States Internal Revenue Service recognizes Saint Louis Polonia Inc. as a non-profit institution with 501 (C) (3) status. Donations supporting the ISJA are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the U.S. tax law.


Donors to the 2022 ISJA will be recognized in a variety of ways.  All ISJA sponsors will be listed in various print materials and websites and announced at concerts.


We are now in the early stages of planning two musical events in St. Louis in April and in early June. Details will be announced soon.


Foreigner’s Guide to Polish Jazz

Top Polish Jazz Spots to Visit

ISJA Links

Photo Galleries


2021 Report links